Too many rules
Written by
Tiare Snow
February 2018
Written by
Tiare Snow
February 2018

"My dad gave me three life rules to live by: 1. Never cut your hair, 2. Never change your last name and 3. Never give your fathers contact details to another sibling. The first two were easy, but the third one proved difficult all because of a cheeseburger. Let me explain." When I was seventeen I worked at my local burger bar, a tiny hole in the wall that catered mostly to high school kids. There was a busstop directly across the road and every afternoon groups of highschoolers would get dropped off and make their way to the burger bar. Sometimes they would just hang out there, not really ordering anything at all but it was hard to knock back one of the burger bars famous cheeseburgers. The secret ingredient, double cheese. 


Every Monday, Wednesday and Friday I would get off the bus at 3:45 across from the burger bar, cross the main road and enter the burger bar through the side door. I would tie my long dark hair up into a pony tail, the ends still tickling my shoulder blades and tie a bright blue apron around my school uniform. My boss Suzy nicknamed me Snowball taken from my last name Snow and it was a running joke that I was the only Snow in a town that rarely got a cool breeze. I was the only Snow in my family, having been given the last name of my estranged father and my mother now remarried shared a different name. I had unintentionally stayed true to the three life rules my father had told me as a small child but number three was about to test me. On a dusty Wednesday afternoon, my first customer at the burger bar was a boy I'd never seen before, he wasn't from my school and I'd never seen him get off any of the other local buses. I looked up when I heard the counter bell ring and almost jumped back, it was like looking into a mirror, only the reflection was male. The boy was at least two years younger but the similarilty was incredible. the tan skin, dark eyes, dark hair, light pink pouty lips and his lashes, I had those same lashes. Our freckles sat evenly along the bridge of our noses, slender faces cascading into skinny teenage bodies. The boy was less astounded, busy looking around at the school girls making their way over to the Burger bars side of the road. How could he not see himself in me? Was I going crazy? 

'What's your name?' I asked, 'I've not seen you here before.'

'Josh. I just moved to town with my mum.'

Josh sat down at the tiny two seater and waited for his cheese burger. I watched him closely as he ate his food and read his book, he was in no hurry to go anywhere and the afternoon and my three hour shift passed as he sat there. I hung up my apron on the inside of the burger bar door, grabbed my school bag and locked up. I moved around to the front of the bar and asked if I could sit with him while I waited for my mum to pick me up, he too was waiting to be picked up by his mother. All but five minutes passed when two cars pullled up and our mothers started walking towards us. Suddenly the women recognized eachother, stopping in the middle of the carpark before reaching us. Josh and I watched them talking as they looked back and forth at us and then continued talking. Josh and I made our way over to our mothers, each of them just staring at us both. Awkward good byes were shared and we went our seperate ways. Once in the car I asked my mother who that woman was, how did she know her?

"Mya, That womans name is Jane and her son Josh, is your younger half brother."


"Jane and I were friends a very long time ago, and it would appear that your father and her had a child together after we left him. Josh doesn't know about your father and as far as he knows, Janes husband is josh's father. Jane isn't even sure if your father knows about Josh." Mum left the car in park and waited for me to respond. In all honesty this wasn't all together surprising news that my father would have a child he ddn't know about, he had plenty he did know about and had no relationship with any of them, except me, if you could call a few phone calls a year a relationship.

"So what am I suppose to do with this information?"

"Well, what do you want to do with it? I guess we might need to wait and see if Jane tells Josh the truth. And then the two of you can take it from there?"

Friday could not come any sooner. I wondered if Josh would visit the Burger bar again and if he did, would he look at me as if he recognised me not just as the girl from the burger bar but the same way I saw him that very first meeting, as a reflection of myself, a sibling?

Friday afternoon finally came around and I hurried my way across the main road, slipped through the side door and put on my apron. I stood there, peering out the hole in the wall, left to right waiting for either someone to come and keep me busy or for Josh. It wasn't long before the counter bell rang and I came out from the freezer to see a familiar face, too familiar. Josh was staring straight at me.

"I saw it as soon as my mother told me. We have the same freckles. Weird.'

'Yeah. Weird. Ha."

"Do you know how I can contact our Dad, mum said she hasn't had any contact since we left. Said you might know?"

And there it was, life rule number 3: never give your fathers contact details to another sibling. That rule had never made much sense before, I had never met let alone spoke to any of my fathers children. Counting on my fingertips I was now up to eleven children to eight different women. Now that I thought about it, it seemed selfish of my father to ask me to keep him from the possible wrath of his children. I felt used.

I went to my school bag and got out a paper and pen. "I'll write it down for you, but let me warn you, he's a bit of a dick." And I passed Josh the paper with my fathers details on it.


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